Axioms & Cults

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The following article comes out of an email exchange that is certainly worthy of broader exposure. Written by Mark Shreffler we believe it may well echo the feelings of many.

 I actually had a cog on why it was easier for me than most to leave the church. I always considered myself a Scientologist – and still do for that matter. I practice it all the time as I live and breathe. It’s not a belief system or a set of now-I’m-supposed-to’s. It’s a library of extremely useful information tethered to a purpose I’ve had since long before I discovered the Dianetics book. I never considered people who were not Scientologists as “lesser beings,” and always thought that “wog” meant apathetic people who have given up – as with the current membership of the church. I always thought of this field as one that would assist me to discover what I was already trying to discover, and have always found it to fill the bill. I never gave a rat’s damn if anyone else agreed.
 
The nature of sects and cults is that they involve groups of people with similar belief systems. Scientology is more akin to a library for me. It’s not a belief system but an orderly set of axioms that invite personal inspection and understanding. The most fundamental precept of Scientology is that if it is not true for you according to your own observation, then it’s not true. It matters not whether or not Ron said it is so. This is the antithesis of a cult or a sect.
 
But any group has the bank in common, and any group that allows it seniority can be termed a cult of that particular set of dramatizations.
 
The church was, for a time, a gathering place for people who held the same purposes that I did, and for whom the technology provided a means to accomplish these. But Scientology is not the church, and it is not the group that claims they are “Scientologists” in the same way the Fans of the Chicago Bears think all other teams are opponents to be reviled. When I discovered that the church was no longer run by Scientologists and no longer shared the purpose for which it was developed, it was as easy to drop as a bad habit.
 
I never felt any sense of betrayal or upset because I never agreed that Scientology was other than what it is for me, according to my own observation. And so it remains. The jam in the jar is still jam, regardless of whether it says “pickles” on the label. My issues were more involved with the lack of alertness I demonstrated by hanging around so long with things that didn’t make sense, thinking that it would all come right in the end.
 
I signed on to a task, not to a group, and those who shared the task (and continue to share it) are each doing so because they have seen for themselves that it is a game worth playing. This group does not describe by any definition a cult or a sect, as it is a band of individuals who share a common purpose. Greenpeace. Amnesty International. The Thrive movement. All of the same fabric.
 
The church and those who adhere to it have become, by every definition, a cult.
 
The logical and practical concern you voice about being positioned as a Scientologist results from an unfortunate A=A on the part of those who themselves belong to the cult of “being normal” which is prevalent on this planet. Scientology has lost it’s safe point because of actions taken by people who pretend to be Scientologists but who betray its most essential fundamentals. But this has nothing to do with Scientology. Rather, it has to do with the very things Scientology was developed to resolve.
 
There’s my two cent’s worth!

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46 thoughts on “Axioms & Cults

  1. That two cents’ worth is brimming with good sense as it delineates the difference between being in a group because it aligns with your truest, sanest and innermost purposes, as opposed to being in a group because it makes all the real decisions for you. The first is a theta team, the second is a cop-out and a cult.

  2. “The most fundamental precept of Scientology is that if it is not true for you according to your own observation, then it’s not true.”
    That is true, for you. Unfortunately, there are things that may be true whether or not you observe them to be so. This fundamental precept is flawed. Sorry.

      • “Absolutes are, after all, unobtainable.” Are you sure? With all due respect, perhaps, with all due respect, this is worthy of some inspection on your part, to see if it is really true for you.
        That “datum”, that absolutes are unobtainable, is circular. It’s flawed as it proposes an absolute state of “unobtainable”.
        Trying to argue or prove one Scientology “truth” by stating another introduces thought stopping, whether intended or not.

      • The most common absolute that is generally known about is absolute zero. Science has come close but has not been able to attain it. Yet.

      • Hey Dan good to see you here. I commented earlier on the idea of absolute zero as reference.

        Personally I do not think it is possible for man to achieve absolute zero scientifically without destroying himself or the physical universe in the process (could be wrong but I doubt it) since to get to the absolute which is “something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative)” then one would have to get all the space mass and energy around the targeted area in question to a full static as well ad infinitum that’s why I think it would destroy us if it were possible- rather it’s just unlikely considering the laws of thermodynamics, physics and all the rest (unless those are wrong)

      • It’s all too easy to slide down into a rabbit hole of philosophical complexity concerning Ron’s simple dictum, “What’s true for you is what you yourself have observed…”, but let’s keep it simple.
        I can hold a thing as true in my mind due to my personal angle of perception, and for me, it’s as true as the sun rising in the east. Doesn’t make it true for anyone else, but when many, many people hold a thing to be true in their minds (due to their common perception of it), then that thing tends to become what we call ‘reality’. It’s the mutually held agreement amongst many that makes it so.
        Now, I can disagree with the group ‘reality’, but that only affects my consideration of what’s true. It doesn’t change a thing in the broader universe of mutually held agreements. Once I step inside that circle, I come face to face with a reality that I disagree with that is nonetheless, pretty darn solid.
        Then again, if enough people agree with my view of the thing, we begin to see a counter reality that may even become the prevailing agreement. That would tend to reduce the reality of the first group’s agreement. I think we’re seeing this exact scenario playing out among Scientologists’ view of the church. More and more, the prevailing reality (agreement) is that it’s a squirrel cult.

      • @Marta – ‘That “datum”, that absolutes are unobtainable, is circular. It’s flawed as it proposes an absolute state of “unobtainable.”’
        I hate to do this but I will clear up the terms “absolute” and “unobtainable” in the context they are used, which shows that it isn’t a paradox at all or circular:
        absolute (noun)
        14. something that is not dependent upon external conditions for existence or for its specific nature, size, etc. (opposed to relative)
        unobtainable (verb)
        1. to come into possession of; get, acquire, or procure, as through an effort or by a request.
        In other words, things do not exist in a vacuum; all things in the universe exist in relation to each other, or contexts. It would be like trying to achieve temperature “absolute zero” – if you somehow did this, you would have freeze everything around it to absolute zero, and then again with all that around this area, ad infinitum, and destroy the universe and yourself in the process, so it can’t be obtained (by human / physical means anyway) since it exists out of the external conditions realm.
        As for circular argument, the datum is not implicitly stating “an absolute has been obtained!….this one… but no others can be!” Rather, the datum it is true only in relation to the physical human experience by which we can obtain things. (That’s why 100% true objectivity isn’t possible in that we always have a viewpoint or perspective, even if just reading – which is subjective by transforming symbols into meanings to understand the world).
        An absolute can be obtainable OUTSIDE of external conditions for existence, nature, size, etc. – and this is where the discussion of theta / spirit comes in (no wavelength, size, space nor time – all outside the realm of physical experience – aside from what it considers itself to be). Hope that helps. Made me think too, thanks for the challenge!

    • Pete is partly right, but that’s because the quote is incorrect and flawed. What it SHOULD state is the actual, correct quote:
      “Nothing in Scientology is true for you unless you have observed it and it is true according to your observation.”
      The quote is referring to what is true for you in Scientology from your observations, NOT what is the ultimate truth nor what is true for all people.
      Things may be “true” whether you observe them or not, but if you can’t observe or measure in some way, then how can you measure them against something else in some way to see if they are “real”?

    • Pete, are you suggesting that I accept a truth on someone else’s say-so? Or are you saying that majority view per se, is the truth? Some people insist the Physical Universe is a fact because it’s true for them.

  3. I do think that the statement is true as it addresses your truth and allows you to own that truth, so if its not true for YOU, then it is not true (for YOU). This allows us to formulate our own truths and is a good foundation for debate! And debate is a wonderful thing to help crystalise ideas, AGREED UPON THRUTHS, creativity and a plathora of wonderful things we can all have an adverture with.

  4. I love you Mark! You spoke my sentiments exactly. That is exactly how I feel then and now about Scientology. Thank you for speaking out and standing up for what is true and right for you. You are an inspiration.

  5. Mark brings up good points that are often missed. You never know (without asking) why someone was there, what draw them to it, how much damaging mind control was done to them, why they stayed, if they ever gave up their soul to the cult, etc.

  6. Mark,
    Good article.
    To me the Church of Scientology reminds me of what Ronald Reagan once said about the Democratic Party and that it wasn’t he who abandoned the party but it was that the party actually abandoned him.
    There are probably a few of us who feel the Church actually abandoned us.

  7. Mark, I must thank you for helping me to clarify the motivation that led me into Scientology Oct 1964 in Joburg. I was looking for a sane and friendly fellowship. A fellowship having a desire to bring out the best in others and be a source of comfort and example while new folks were establishing themselves within that group. I found the staff and students best exemplified these qualities during that time.
    As I moved on to other locations – England, US and Canada, over the years and decades I found this sense of fellowship begin to diminish. We began to become a position on the grade chart as our basic beingness. Who we really were really didn’t matter as much. You’d see someone you had known for some time and it became “where are you on the bridge” as the first question after not seeing one another for 10 or so years. I remember one day thinking to myself about this robotic question “fuck this shit”, and so I stopped going to events and scientology social gatherings. The camaraderie and interest in your real life just disappeared. Well, I just disappeared as well.
    I wish it were otherwise, I really do. Anyone who was around the Joburg Org in the early and mid 60s has to remember what a bloody great group we were. Up until the first comm ev. That’s when the orcs began appearing.
    So Mark, again many thanks for helping me put 50 years back into perspective and balance. The take-away is this: I met and worked with utterly stellar individuals whom I would never had met had my future gone along a different path. And, bottom line, (at least for me) my life is as full as I have/had good folks who were kind, thoughtful, and uptone. No regrets here.
    Any ol’ Joburgers out there who were around at the time – Jane, Ray, Katie, Kobus, Monica, Molly, Pat, the Jaffes, Neville and Vic, Heinrich and Geisela and, oh yes, Ben. Who could forget Ben.
    alles van die beste to y’all.,
    Good Fella.

  8. Pingback: Axioms & Cults | brightfametexan

  9. I’d like to add a few quotes not by LRH:

    “The world is too dangerous for anything but truth
    and too small for anything but love.” – William Sloan Coffin

    “You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying it’s orders and decrees.
    An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means
    partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi

    “No bird soars too high, if he soars on his own wings” – William Blake

    And, since I have long thought that the Church Management is acting more and more like a Government:

    “To be GOVERNED is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.” (P.-J. Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century, trans. John Beverley Robinson. London: Freedom Press, 1923, p. 294)

    • Freeddom Man Thank you for this quote, “You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying it’s orders and decrees.
      An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means
      partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.”
      – Mahatma Gandhi
      I have an UTR friend who insists that she should support the church and auditors in the church because “don’t withdraw your allegience once granted” from the Code of Integrity or Creed of a Scn ref. Well you have to look at what you are loyally supporting. If it started out good and then ended up corrupt, then you are supporting a corrupt group in the end.

      • I have an UTR friend who insists that she should support the church and auditors in the church because “don’t withdraw your allegience once granted”
        That’s very honorable of your friend, but she ought to take a good hard look at just who and what she granted her allegiance to in the first place. I very much doubt that she gave her allegiance to a controlling, Nazi-like, money grubbing cult, that is out-exchange with its members, and no longer follows its own teachings and policies.
        The group and philosophy your friend gave her allegiance to has left the building.

  10. VERY well put, Mark. Way more than 2 cents worth in my opinion. I would bet that there are a lot of real Scientologists for whom this statement resonates in perfect harmony.
    We have found great value in LRH’s researches not by “believing in” them, but by applying them and forming our own opinion based on our own observations. The cult wants people to also BELIEVE in Miscavige’s mis-guided (and mostly off-policy) distortions of Ron’s work. Or else! Or else!! That is why it is a cult. The moment a real Scientologist participates in mental manipulation of that nature, they cease to that degree to be real Scientologists. Hopefully, many more will wake up.
    The only thing the cult really has ever had to offer was given to them by LRH. It is really tasty jam, to use your analogy. Too bad Miscavige had to put some in a pickle jar and mix in harmful additives.
    But we still have the recipe. We can just keep making tasty jam.
    It goes well with almost everything.

  11. Ahh the what is truth debate! Delicious! I will add yet another cent to hopefully make a wealthier piggy bank of wisdom.
    For me truth equates to workability across the dynamics. Its relative and folllows infinite valued logic as opposed to black and white two valued logic. Increasing truth also increases understanding and power. Lastly truth is ultimately youness, not thereness, otherness, becomingness, doingness, havingness- just YOU!
    In playing games within games..within games, we forget who is true source (truth). Perhaps we choose to do this because acknowledging the above may result in too many things going POOF! No thetan likes to have his toys disapear on him now does he?

  12. Shreff, you’re ‘on the money’ again, as usual, my friend! But let’s just chuck in another datum, for a bit more agitation of the ‘agitators’, shall we? The whole basis of ‘viewpoint’ pre-supposes that one one is, or intends to, view SOMETHING!
    Check out, for a real life example, the number of ‘witnessed’ versions of a road accident .
    Out of 10 persons, each from a differing physical position, ‘interpretation,’ emotional response, visual accuracy, visual recall, tendency for dub-in, etc, etc, I guarantee there will be at the very least, 10 ‘versions’ differing at least marginally, from any of the others.
    How could it be otherwise, with each viewpoint ‘package’, being different, from any other?
    Where LRH, broke new ground, broadly speaking, was in the immense capacity he had, in formulating The Factors, Axioms, Logics, and Auditing technology, resulting therefrom.
    Yes, there are, and always will be his detractors, for reasons justified or not, but, I believe he can take full credit for formulating, testing, organizing and achieving broad success, in helping others to free themselves and others from aberration, disability, using his track proven methodologies, in spite of all his naysayers, and.critics.
    Axiom 28, is probably the SINGLE most ‘unappreciated’, broadly unrecognized, most potent mental, spiritual, physical universe and ‘life’ tool there is, since when used in life, and auditing, it produces CHANGE, via duplication and understanding and this all takes place by viewing something AS-IS. The miracle of being able to do this, brings an end to the persistence of ‘untruth’ (lies) and thus leads to the ultimate truth, (static) and the vanishment of unwanted persistences.
    Sadly, the detractors, critics, and agitators, don’t, or have long since abandoned their ability and/or willingness to do this, so they carry on, instead, with their preferred tool:.. NOT-IS

  13. Thank you so much, Mark, for your article.
    Your writing has lighted up some sparks in me.
    For the ideas shared, quotes, remarks… this site is still very rich!!
    I like it!!!
    ScnAfrica, what is the picture illustrating this post?
    Nice week-end to you all…

  14. Mark,
    Thank you, for sharing your viewpoint. And thank you, for continuing on your purpose.
    Scientology opened up the door to awareness, of my dynamics and my own purpose. I’m grateful. I feel fortunate, that our paths crossed. Your purpose, as an individual, was very clear to me. It fit in with what I believed, was the whole point of Scientology’s creation. Ron’s words communicated that purpose to me and despite the insanity and seriousness I saw around me, in the organization, as a new public, in 1994, I got it. You helped me see, that the game I choose to play, can be enormously purposeful and fun.
    ML,
    Diana

  15. Mark,

    Thank you, for sharing your viewpoint. And thank you, for continuing on your purpose.

    Scientology opened up the door to awareness, of my dynamics and my own purpose. I’m grateful. I feel fortunate, that our paths crossed. Your purpose, as an individual, was very clear to me. It fit in with what I believed, was the whole point of Scientology’s creation. Ron’s words communicated that purpose to me and despite the insanity and seriousness I saw around me, in the organization, as a new public, in 1994, I got it. You helped me see, that the game I choose to play, can be enormously purposeful and fun.

    ML,
    Diana

  16. I was interested in Scientology after reading “What is Scientology” (please read Lawrence Brennan’s affidavit online about that book). I was totally interested in finding a group of like minded people to do some good in the world. I was so stoked about it I went to the Org to get involved. I noticed the staff did not look good and seemed a bit off in the head…but I ignored that and continued because I thought – “Well, they came here to get some help”
    I envy those of you that made friends and were able to develop relationships that lasted. It is an entire new scene in Miscavige’s cult called Scientology.
    What is true for me – was true – I was duped by Scientology completely!! The “love and care” I received as a new member was all a show. The staff were pretending to care and like me and want my dreams to come true. Once I had money on account and was more “invested” – I was dropped like a hot potato and on my own. It was the strangest feeling in the world and I had no clue what was going on…just thought – “I have to take more responsibility”. Soon, it was obvious that my dreams and goals were selfish of me to have – and I should be giving all of my money and time to the Organization. I felt guilty for having any goals that were personal!! The staff were suffering and going without! ALL of this was cleverly crafted!
    The current scene in Scientology is covertly vicious and evil – everyone in it has an agenda called a stat. No one reaches out to new members to befriend them unless they want money or free labor. I noticed that I was starting to act like that too – and that was not me!
    There are nothing but cliques of a few old timers and their families. They don’t reach out to new public and invite them to weddings, birthdays etc…unless they are brand new and need stats! It is disgusting to do this to human beings!
    I got in around 7 years ago and did a lot of auditing and training as a public. The problem with the Organization today is there is no sincere love and care from anyone! The “love bombing” honey moon I experienced in the beginning was fake, phony and stat driven! Soon after I had lots of money on account – the love and care stopped!!
    For those of you who got in a long time ago – it was a different scene and you still have good friends. You are lucky you got that out of Scientology. Today – it is a sad state of affairs for all of them still trapped in Scientology!!

  17. Regarding Lawrence Brennan: Please be aware that the former Lawrence Brennan is now Denise Brennan. She has undergone a legal gender reassignment from male to female. She posts regularly at several message boards such as Mike Rinder’s blog and at exscientologistmessage board.

  18. Dear Mark,
    Thank you for writing this. You were such an inspiration and entertainer at your talks in JHB! A true Scientologist.
    Frik Blaauw

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